Dear SFUFA Members:
This bulletin contains information on:
- Pensions and purchase of past service in the BCCPP
- SFUFA’s support of the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)
- A brief bargaining update
- Codes of Conduct
- Member dues
Pension – past service purchasing
Many members have already explored or are currently exploring options to purchase past service in the BC College Pension Plan. A number of questions have arisen, however, about particular aspects of the buy-back process. While SFUFA has had direct contact with the BCCPP, it is only in recent days that we have found someone at Sun Life to help manage communications. We have been told that Sun Life has updated its process and staff directions to ensure that all Client Care Centre representatives have the appropriate information. Sun Life reps should now also have a copy of the BCCPP’s transfer form so that call centre representatives can follow along with the member to help complete the form.
What follows are the direct instructions we have been provided by Sun Life for members who choose to use Sun Life pension plan funds to purchase service in the BCCPP. Please also note – while often a tax form (T2151) is required to transfer funds, in this instance it is not necessary; the forms provided by BCCPP will suffice. For any transfers other than Sun Life Pension to BCCPP, please check with your financial institution(s).
The information below, direct from Sun Life, lays out what is required when completing the BCCPP transfer form.
Plan No. – please have the member put their Sun Life account number
Name of RRSP/RPP Plan – Simon Fraser University Retirement Program for Academic Staff
RRSP/RPP issuer name – Sun Life
RRSP/RPP issuer address – PO Box 2025 Stn Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2J 0B4
Amount – to be completed by member (either dollar amount or ‘ALL’)
Member signature/date is required to process the form
Once the form is completed, it can be returned using Sun Life’s mobile app. Photograph or scan your form, and submit via the Documents icon on the bottom of the screen in the mobile app. This is the preferred option so as to avoid the risk that physical mail may not deliver documents in time.
Once the forms are processed by Sun Life and delivered to the BCCPP, it will take one-two weeks to appear in their system as received. They will then need to submit amounts for CRA verification to ensure that the amounts are allowable, which may take some weeks.
Once all the formal processes are complete, it could still be some months before past service is reflected in pension benefits paid; members who are retiring within the year should take note of the potential delay before cheques cover the full amount. We are working with BCCPP to see if there is a way to expedite this for those approaching their retirements, but for now members should be aware that they may see a few months of lower pension benefits before all adjustments can be made and pension cheques stabilize at the correct amount.
Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)
At its June 2022 meeting, the SFUFA Executive voted unanimously to become signatories of DORA, the Declaration on Research Assessment.
We agree with the declaration’s key principle, that there is a need to improve the ways in which the research and the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated. We share the declaration’s concern with over-reliance on problematic metrics such as impact factors, and endorse the following recommendation for institutions:
“For the purposes of research assessment, consider the value and impact of all research outputs (including datasets and software) in addition to research publications, and consider a broad range of impact measures including qualitative indicators of research impact, such as influence on policy and practice.”
We encourage departments, schools, and non-departmentalized faculties (and areas within them) to consider these issues when drawing up their methods of assessment for tenure and promotion.
The declaration and more information about it can be found at:
Over the past few weeks, SFUFA’s bargaining team has held 9 bargaining consultation sessions, both on zoom and in person. We have also now closed the bargaining survey, and the team is reviewing the feedback received.
In the next couple of weeks, we anticipate we will be able to share with you the priorities that have been identified by members. We will also be writing to SFU with official notice to commence bargaining in the Fall, and requesting names of the members of the administration’s bargaining team.
Thanks to all of you who completed the survey and/ or attended the bargaining consultations. Members have provided us with detailed feedback in a wide range of areas to help us ensure that the proposals we take forward represent the real concerns faculty have identified and prioritized.
Codes of Conduct
Over the past few months, we have been hearing from members about proposed Codes of Conduct being developed at the Departmental level; in one instance, there is some indication that a Faculty may be asking all units to develop Codes of Conduct.
The Association has serious concerns about the implications of such codes. While we are committed to respectful conversation and collegial resolution of differences, all too often initiatives such as Codes of Conduct and Respectful Workplace policies can pose very real threats to academic freedom. In some cases, too, the terms of such policies can further undermine the rights of faculty members to collegial decision-making regarding academic matters. We have, then, two obligations – to promote meaningful procedures to address harassment and discrimination in the workplace, but also to resist policies and protocols that have the potential to limit or control speech.
It is too early to tell whether any of what arises here will require official response from the Association. For now, we simply flag this as a concern and invite members to reach out to us regarding any questions related to Codes of Conduct. We attach here, too, a report by the CAUT (Canadian Association of University Teachers) regarding respectful workplace policies which may be of value to members exploring this question.
As previously reported, earlier this year members voted to increase Association dues to 0.85% effective September 1 of this year. SFU is beginning to process the change but needs to set it to be effective at the beginning of a pay cycle. As a result, the increase will be applied effective August 29.